The Boca Raton Branch of the National League of American Pen Women (NLAPW) celebrated the lifetime achievements of seven exceptional Pen women sages who reached their 80s and 90s and still continue their creative endeavors.
In a special event – Portraits of Our Sages – on February 29, 2016, at the Center for Spiritual Living in Boca Raton, Florida, Pen members, families, friends and admirers came together to honor these seven outstanding sages and hear the personal stories of their lives and accomplishments.
Sheila Firestone, President of the Boca Raton NLAPW, first introduced the idea for this event when she said, “If we don’t hear their stories now, no one will know who these wonderful women are.” Sheila’s inspiration for planning this event were these seven special sages: Diane Brenda Bryan, Connie Lefkowitz, Dr. Myra Levick, Bea Doone-Merena, Helen Regenstreif, Virginia Snyder and Mary Twitty.
Diane Brenda Bryan is the author of four novels. As a former actor, she appeared in off-Broadway theater in NY. She continued her love for acting by establishing and directing Theaterama, a regional theater in Bethpage, NY. Diane is at work on a new book.
Connie Lefkowitz is a talented sculptor whose award-winning creations, in alabaster and other mediums, were exhibited
in the Boca Raton Artists’ Guild Gallery in Delray Beach, FL and other venues. Her sculpture, Soldier in the Field, was transported to a rehabilitation facility in Jerusalem where it stands in tribute to those who served in the Israeli armed forces. After retiring from her early career as a guidance counselor in Newark, NJ, Connie studied sculpting in NYC and Florida. Her strikingly beautiful sculptures continue to delight viewers.
Dr. Myra Levick is an artist, art psychotherapist, and author of five books and numerous published articles.
She established the first graduate art therapy program at Hahnemann Medical College in Philadelphia and started the American Art Therapy Association. As a professor at Hahnemann, Myra directed three graduate training programs in art, dance/movement, and music therapy. She continues to paint and contribute to the field of art therapy.
Bea Doone-Merena is an accomplished artist who has mastered the art of classical realism. Her award-winning oil paintings are reminiscent of Renaissance masters. Bea’s portraits and figure paintings have been exhibited in numerous Florida galleries and museums. Bea’s creativity also extends to clothing design. She continues to study the old masters and create outstanding paintings.
Helen Regenstreif is a skilled watercolor artist and enamel on copper artist. During her early career as a high school teacher, Helen became interested in enamel on copper art and studied the techniques necessary to master this specialty. She later traveled to China where she had a traditional Chinese seal, called a chop, designed for her unique signature. She now signs all her art work with her inked chop.
Virginia Snyder is an author, the first female private investigator in Florida, and a human rights activist. Her career as an investigative reporter, covering murders, corruption and the judicial system, inspired her book, And Justice For All. It is believed that Virginia’s work influenced the TV show, Murder She Wrote. Virginia earned numerous awards, including a 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Greater Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce.
Mary F. Twitty is a prolific author of eight novels that weave history with fiction. She also writes children’s books. Hallelujah, What A Ride is Mary’s most recent novel. Her ninth book is in the publishing pipeline, and she is at work penning a tenth novel. Mary’s early career took her to Washington, DC where she served as Special Assistant to two members of the U. S. Congress.
Musical accompaniment for the program was provided by concert pianist and fellow Pen woman, Fedora Horowitz, and composer and Pen President, Sheila Firestone. Marlene Klotz, Pen Poetry Chairman, introduced the sages and presented each honoree with a rose and a copy of Spirit, Peace and Joy, an anthology of poems by Pen Women, published by Pen Women Press.
A lively reception, organized by fellow Pen Women, Prue Carrico and Dayle Herstik, followed the program. Pen members and guests mingled with the sages and admired some of their creative art and books on exhibit. Refreshments added a delicious finishing touch to a very special day.
This memorable event was featured in a Sun Sentinel article – Honoring Sages: Pen women make their mark.